STEM GLAM GALLERY: Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin was born into a wealthy family, in Shrewbury, Western England. Ever since he was young, he had a strong interest in nature and fond of fishing, riding, hunting, and gathering insects. His father’s (a physician) disencouragement about his interests pushed him to attend medical school. However, he eventually dropped out after realizing that the sight of blood was boring and terrifying. After that, he attended the Cambridge University, where he became a proficient naturalist.
After graduation at the Christ’s college, Cambridge University, he was chosen to become a partner of ship captain, Robert FitzRoy of HMS Beagle. There, he started his epic 5-year voyage, and explored and collected thousands plants and animals. Noticing how diverse and varied in traits his collected specimen are, he proposed one main mechanism by which the organisms are evolved, “natural selection.”
His three main observations are central to his famous proposal of natural selection. First, he noticed organisms show different features and traits between different populations. And these traits are usually heritable, that is, it can be passed from generation to generation. However, the extent that different organisms produce their offsprings in a certain environment is beyond its sustainability and ability to support all individuals. That lead different organisms to compete each other for survival and reproduction. As a result, some will stay and some will die. From those findings, he developed a theory that organism evolve by “natural selection”: organisms with adapted traits that are better suited to a given environment will be able to survive and reproduce more than less adapted organisms.